So begins our exploration of mains and savouries! But it should start with a bang, I think, not to mention a time-honoured classic! I picked this butter chicken recipe out of a fantastic cookbook by the Australian Women’s Weekly because it seemed so perfect for the starting main. It was simple, cheap to make, and flavoursome! Given it’s also a slow cooker recipe it seemed so suited to the sharp winter weather. At the moment it’s either raining, or pelting us with wicked bitter winds. To be honest I prefer the rain because it makes me glad to be indoors, and it’s so soothing to listen to. But when it’s cold outside it’s the perfect time to make a slow cooker recipe.
The virtue of slow cooker recipes is their set and leave nature. You have to do a few minor things to set them up, but then the slow cooker/oven will take care of the rest. You can go on and do more chores or go have fun, and after a couple of hours a delicious meal will be there – waiting to be eaten. But butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is such a classic it would be hard to pass up. It seems to have a rather interesting tale behind it as well. Although it’s invention is rather recent, able to be traced back to a man called Kundan Lal Gujral, who operated a restaurant in Dehli, India in the 1950’s, a few sources pointed out that it was ancient influences on Punjabi cuisine that allowed this sort of dish to come about. I think it’s so fascinating to know that all modern cuisines have such different sources that influenced them at one time or another, and to think of how different things would be without those influences. I also have to give a nod of great respect to Kundan Lal Gujral, if not for his skill we might not have this delicious dish in our kitchens now! If someone happens to know a bit more about this topic, please drop me a comment below. I’m eager to know more about the various cuisines in India!
And although it might not be considered authentic, I think this Women’s Weekly version is absolutely delicious. It’s rich, it’s flavoursome, but it’s not too overpowering. It’s also not too expensive to make given how far it stretches when served with rice and your preferred Indian bread. I wanted to serve mine with gluten-free garlic naan, but I was told I had created too much mess in the kitchen as it is and to stick with rice! But feel free to serve yours with whatever sides you like, and have a happy FF!
Australian Women’s Weekly’s
Prep: 15-30 mins, + 30 mins marinating time, Serves: 6-8, Cook: up to 4hrs,
- 2.4kg chicken thigh cutlets, no skin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3/4 cup/200g Greek yoghurt
- 5cm piece/25g piece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 45g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking
- 1 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 2/3 cups/410g tomato puree
- 2/3 cup/160ml chicken stock (gf)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1/3 cup/80 ml pouring cream
- 1/3 cup/80g ricotta cheese, for serving
- 1/2 cup loosely packed coriander leaves, for serving
- Combine chicken, lemon juice and chilli powder in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Stir yoghurt, ginger and half the garam masala into the chicken mixture.
- Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan. Brown chicken all over in batches.
- Transfer to 4.5-litre (18-cup) slow cooker.
- Add onion and garlic to original pan. Cook, stirring, until onion softens. Add remaining garam masala and ground spices, cook, stirring, until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato paste, puree, stock, honey and cinnamon. Transfer to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 4 hours.
- Once ready to serve, stir in the cream and season to taste.
- Spoon butter chicken into serving dishes and top with ricotta and coriander leaves. Serve with steamed basmati rice and your preferred breads.
NOTE: If you don’t have a slow cooker, after browning the chicken you can simmer it in a heavy-based saucepan on the stove top for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until tender